Category Archives: World Cup 2014

THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

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Story by Sarah Mobbs

I was hoping not to bang on too much about Suarez this week. I thought last week I had covered all of what I really wanted to say, and then I saw a story in the paper last Saturday morning that really concerned me. We’ve all by now seen the reactions to Suarez’ punishment from FIFA, and we’ve all heard the news about how Barcelona wanted him to apologise publicly before they would consider the purchase from Liverpool. Now, negotiations are well underway between the two clubs regarding the hefty £80m price tag on Suarez’ (not inconsiderably sized) head.  I’m sure Liverpool (both club and fans) are coming round to the idea of binning Suarez off, he’s helped them to get back into the game and back into the top 4 of the Premier League, but that itself has come at a price.

The story that shook me then, was featured on the front page of The Sun “news” paper last week. A young lad of 8 bit a school mate on the wrist during a game of football in the school yard. This in itself, wasn’t all that shocking, kids bite, albeit by this age they’ve usually grown out of it, but it happens. What bothered me was, when asked why he had bitten his friend, the lad responded that it was because “Professional footballers do it…” now, we all know, that when he says “Professional footballers” he means one in particular; Suarez. As a Liverpool fan the lad has seen him do it before, and as a huge Suarez fan, he continued to watch (at least for the one more match) Uruguay in the World Cup and so will have seen it happen again, and at that early stage, without even so much as a red card because the referee did not see what happened.

There was another story featured on a parenting website last year (April 2013) following Suarez’ attack on Chelsea’s Ivanovic, claiming that a boy of 11 had bitten another class mate, proclaiming that he was going “to do a Luis Suarez” where he proceeded to sink his teeth into the other boy. At 8 and 11 boys, I wouldn’t go around biting people too often, you only have to look at Suarez to see that what it does to your teeth, and that should be deterrent enough – ooops, did I just put that in print?

At this point, I’d like to make clear that both sets of parents completely blamed Suarez for the actions of their children. Although I agree, totally and whole-heartedly, that he is an incredibly poor role model for young and impressionable football fans, the whole blame cannot be put on him. As I said last week, to bite three people (not to mention his other indiscretions on the pitch) there must be something really wrong with him, or, he was never taught not to bite. I don’t have children, I don’t know if I ever will, but I don’t feel you can blame your child’s violent actions on a footballer, professional or not. As a child one of the first things I learnt, after my “please”s and “thank you”s was “do as I say, not as I do” – meaning just because you see someone else doing something, does not mean it is ok for you to do it too. This fact though, does not excuse Suarez fully; these parents put their trust in role models of all kinds, and expect, as people in the public eye, that footballers (especially the ones, like Suarez who have children of their own) would set better examples.

This sort of brings me back to the Barcelona transfer. Football now, is not just a sport; it’s an industry, a business. Most schools and businesses have a “3 strikes and you’re out” policy. I certainly would not expect to have 3 chances if I went around biting people at work, so why should Suarez, or any other footballer. This is actually the fourth time he has been sanctioned for bad behaviour by various foot-balling associations. Certainly, the 8 year old who bit his pal is now facing expulsion after one episode, one which will surely have an effect on the opinion of him at any new school he may have to attend. And I have no doubt, if you were sacked from a job for similar offences, you would struggle to find someone else to take you on. So why should footballers be treated any differently? I heard the other day that part of the appeal was to be that the ban was cutting off Suarez’ way to make a living, and a life-long ban would surely do this. But why is it that we think that 4 months will make an example of him? Sure, he’s not allowed to train with his teams, but he has been given the go-ahead to take a medical should Barca decide to take him on, and when that 4 months is up, I have no doubt in my mind that he’ll bounce back. He’s a world class player and whichever team ends up with him, I’m sure they’ll invest a lot of time and effort to get him back fighting fit.

I do find it interesting that there was no mention in the articles I read though, that neither of the sets of parents appear to mention how they would be disciplining their children. They want these celebrities etc to set examples for their children, but they are leaving it the schools to decide their children’s fates. Perhaps now they’ve seen what letting idols be role models can do, they might start thinking about setting a few examples of their own…. #justsaying

EDITOR’S INSIGHT

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STORY BY ROBIN POPLEY

Quarter Finals day beckons and with it, I take stock of what I believe could well turn out to be the best World Cup ever. As I predicted before a ball was kicked, the party mood of the favelas has captured the imaginations of the millions of fans watching but moreover, each of the 32 nations participating (even our own) have been involved in some of the best total football matches at many a World Cup in recent memory.

We have seen the Spanish – the current World champions – exit at the group stage. We have been inspired by the heroics of Algeria, Costa Rica, Mexico (and in particular their manager) and the USA. Although only one out of the four of those have progressed to join many of the bigger teams at the tail end of this year’s competition, it is great to see so many of the underdogs have the opportunity to seize the day and stamp their authority on the destination of where the trophy ultimately ends up on July 13th.

In the past, we have had the heroics of people like Roger Milla capture the imagination and as recently as 2002, we saw hosts South Korea reach the last four and Senegal take on the then, World Champions, France and overcome the odds to beat the footballing giants of the French game including Zinedine Zidane, Patrick Viera and Thierry Henry.

Whilst discussing the French national side, their cup winning captain of 1998, Didier Deschamps has rediscovered the fortunes of the French national team and have made them into one of the most formidable teams at this World Cup. Should their campaign ultimately end this afternoon against Germany (my sweepstake team) there is more than enough reason to be happy as a French fan ahead of them hosting the European Championships in 2016 which I presume will see them heavily fancied. Germany, themselves, despite needing Extra Time to overcome an Algerian team which boasted Leicester City’s winger Riyad Mahrez (sorry for the plug again, but you’ve got to make the most of success as a Foxes fan), have looked in steady shape – in particular the defensive line spearheaded by Neuer. At the other end of the pitch, Muller has been scoring for fun, and is on course to mount a challenge for the Golden Boot when tournament proceedings come to close.

Colombia, who always prove a heavyweight in qualifying have now matched that on the biggest stage, to put to bed some of the ghosts from previous tournaments. They and Costa Rica have been mightily impressive thus far and deserve to find themselves in the Quarter Finals. Belgium, another ‘outsider’ of sorts have had a recent revival in fortunes and have some great players – many of whom are now plying their trade in the top divisions across Europe. However, I still feel the challenge which faces these sides is quite daunting and this may be the end of the road for them this time around.

Then we come to the three other highest ranking teams (bar Germany) left at the World cup; the Netherlands, Argentina and hosts Brazil. For me, this is the pool of nations where the eventual winner will come from.  Holland were extremely lucky to get to this stage after a late comeback against Mexico but we know the class they possess following their early 5-1 victory against Spain. Argentina, too, have some quality players in their ranks – in particular multi-time winner of the Ballon d’Or, Lionel Messi, widely considered to be the best player in the world currently. Nevertheless, my mind remains unchanged. I firmly believe that Brazil, in their own backyard are too strong and will overcome the odds to win the World Cup for a remarkable sixth occasion. If Neymar stays fit, it is theirs to lose… And what a fitting way that would be to close the Brazilian and perhaps the best World Cup, ever. Enjoy the games!

Robin.

THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID – Chewy Luis

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STORY BY SARAH MOBBS

 

You may or may not recall, in the early days of That’s What She Said, my rant about Mario Balotelli. I made no bones about the fact that I did not like him, and my reasons were many, but mostly my dislike stemmed from his abhorrent personality. His personality, I could handle, if it were just the fact that he perhaps wasn’t a nice person and was simply arrogant and rude, but the problem with Mario “Why always me” Balotelli was the poor example he was setting for his younger fans.

Continue reading THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID – Chewy Luis

THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID.

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STORY BY SARAH MOBBS

Despite my continuing support for England during the 2014 World Cup (if you read last week’s That’s What She Said, you’ll know I am trying to find any old sign that we could be in with a chance this year), my love affair with Spain has also been playing on my mind. After all, it was the 2010 World Cup that taught me to see the beauty in the Beautiful Game; drawing Spain in the work sweepstakes helped a lot there, as I then also had money riding on them to win- which, as we all know, they did, and I was better off for it!

Continue reading THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID.

EDITOR’S INSIGHT – 19th June 2014.

Image   Story by Robin Popley One week in to Brazil 2014 and it has already proven to be as good as the hype that preceded it. By my mathematics, there is an average of 3 goals per game which means we are well on track for almost 200 goals by the end of the tournament and by the way some teams are attacking, that prediction may well be met. Holland have been scoring as freely as Niagara Falls flows and Spain’s defence has been as absent as a Dingle’s school attendance: which is probably why they have been eliminated after only one week of their title defence. Continue reading EDITOR’S INSIGHT – 19th June 2014.